Studying Multimodal Rhetoric Through the Socioneurobiological Lens

As mentioned in previous chapters, the fields of rhetoric and neurobiology/ physiology tend to examine multimodal and multisensory experiences differently, using different tools especially. While rhetoric studies tend to focus attention on composition and observed behaviors or surveys of audience perception of content, neurophysiological studies focus on particular neuron behaviors inside the brain based on biomedical technologies. However, these neurobiological/physiological studies involve analysis of such activity relative to certain stimuli; nevertheless, social science is involved in neurobiology/physiology. As such, this model can also be applied to rhetorical analyses of multimodal products/stimuli to form a neurorhetorical analysis. Consequently, rhetorical theory, often linked with social sciences, can contribute to cognitive neuroscience studies; and the field of rhetoric can benefit from integrated studies likewise.

Examples of potential studies include ascertaining how the brain processes certain modal combinations; rhetoric scholars can design these combinations. Studies can triangulate data by including both biomedical technologies as well as social science research methods such as surveys and interviews with participants as well as observation and quasiexperimental designs. I discuss such studies in later chapters. However, the chapters immediately following this one detail neurorhetorical analyses of specific products without triangulation.

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